One person said it seems impossible to do exposure therapy in certain situations.
And this has been my inspiration to create a video and a blogpost.
I absolutely understand what he meant by that.
So there are two situations that I’ve overcome social anxiety in.
One is driving around in the car and having thoughts and feelings really anxious and also singing in the car is also related to that.
I’m a musician and singer.
Until I did a lot of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy work and self-acceptance work, it was hard for me to sing in the car where a lot of people are driving by.
I would instantly stop and feel shy.
Even singing a little bit when I knew they couldn’t hear me.
Now I do it all the time, I sing loud. I don’t care.
My singing is much better because I’m not reserved. I let myself come out, I’m more free and expressive.
And doing the Dr. Richards courses really helped me.
How do you do that?
At some point, you’re gonna have to expose.
If you go out and expose yourself without doing any cognitive, affirmation, belief change, meditation, energy, visualization work, stuff at home to set yourself up for success.
To heal and help yourself ahead of time, it’s gonna be really difficult to do exposure therapy alone.
Exposure therapy is basically just throwing yourself into a situation and trying to push through, trying to get through it.
Here is another situation, going out to bars by myself and meeting people. That’s probably the biggest one that I’ve overcome.
Sometimes I still struggle with it but I change it up and get rid of the fear and anxiety right there.
For instance I used to try to get out by myself and be so afraid like before I walked in the bar, the fear would come in and I physically felt like there was a barrier in front of the bar like I couldn’t walk inside.
Now, sometimes I have that fear but I don’t mind it because I did all the work and have the tools to challenge the thought and fear so I can overcome them on the spot.
The tools that I have and the new thinking to overcome it, when it comes back they allow me to squash it.
Fear is wired into our bodies to be a good thing. So there are rational fears.
Obviously with social anxiety, we’ve put together a story that’s created rational fears so that’s where we’re going after, that’s what we’re trying to change.
So doing a cognitive work at home is very important. Dr. Richards’ Overcoming Social Anxiety Step by Step really is a good course for this.
It helped me a lot along with works I have done and continue to do.
I believe in maintenance, I believe a statement in daoism that says:
It’s a dusty world.
You need to maintain and do stuff almost everyday for your mental and emotional well-being.
I don’t see why that isn’t in our culture and I see why. Because they want you to buy products or service that will help you feel better when all you have to do is do some internal work at home.
I’m really passionate about this.
It’s like buying a new music instrument. You don’t just buy it and leave it somewhere and you expect to get good at playing it. You buy it and practice it as much as you can.
In Western society, we have this thing about conquering and overcoming and then it’s done.
That’s just not been my experience.
And approaching things that way is not effective in my opinion and vast experience.
I prefer the Eastern view of maintaining, balance and harmony.
And that’s what has worked for me in overcoming and managing my social anxiety.
So the answer to your question is you need to practice at home to support yourself.
If you’re sitting there stewing in your anticipatory anxiety, you need to start challenging those thoughts and fears right there at your home as you are thinking them.
Self-acceptance, affirmations, etc.
All these can help you and you can find them in You Can Heal Your Life book by Loiuse Hay.
What can I do everyday to support myself?
I’m making a home recovery course soon to help people overcome social anxiety.
Finally, I’m glad that the person who requested me to make this video/blogpost is determined to overcome social anxiety, because that’s the one most important thing.
I’ve always been determined to overcome it that’s why I made so much progress.
Exposure therapy can help in some situations but if you have really intense fear and old thought and belief patterns that are generating that fear you need to go inside and do the work.
And you can start doing it at home.
However you realize at some point you have to expose and you will encounter that fear but you’ll be more set up for success to have the tools to get rid of the fear on the spot, accept it and let it go, push it out, clear it, heal it.
There’s a lot of different ways that I have done and encourage some others to do as well.